Showing posts from July, 2017

Book Review: The Mistresses of Cliveden: Three Centuries of Scandal, Power and Intrigue in an English Stately Home The Mistresses of Cliveden: Three Centuries of Scandal, Power and Intrigue in an English Stately Home by Natalie Livingstone

The Mistresses of Cliveden: Three Centuries of Scandal, Power and Intrigue in an English Stately Home by Natalie Livingstone
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The Mistresses of Clivenden starts out with the story of a real mistress, Anna Maria, the Countess of Shrewsbury, who was beloved of the Duke of Buckingham. He built the house with the purpose of them living together and enjoying the pleasures of the flesh. Due to the public censure of their scandalous and even murderous (he killed her husband in a duel) relationship, they were not able to actually be together and live happily at the estate. Another famous mistress was Elizabeth, Countess of Orkney, who was the paramour of William of Orange, despite her famous squint. She and her husband, the Earl, upgraded the house and hosted royalty. The next owner was just the mistress of Clivenden, as she loved her husband - Augusta of Saxe-Gotha, the wife of the Prince of Wales. Together, they turned Clivenden into an alternate court, away from the …

Book Review: Death of a Ghost (Hamish Macbeth, #32) by M.C. Beaton

Death of a Ghost by M.C. Beaton
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Oh Hamish, how I loved ye.

I'm pretty sure I've read almost all of the Hamish Macbeth books (this is #32), including the little stories. I think I might have missed one before this one, somehow, because I didn't remember quite how Hamish got the poodle, although I do remember how he lost Sonsie. I've enjoyed them all, for the most part, being a lover of cozy mysteries.

This one was not so great.

It seemed like new characters, who could have been more interesting if fleshed out a little more, were popping up every chapter, along with the good old friends you expect from the books of the past.

There really wasn't a Death of a Ghost, rather a fake ghost was being used to cover up scurrilous activities in the old castle now inhabited by former police bigwig Handy Ebrington, who also has a shady past. Hamish and his new co-hort, Charlie, inspect the scene, lose a body, and are off to solve the mystery. There ar…

Book Review: The Sisters Who Would Be Queen by Leanda de Lisle

The Sisters Who Would Be Queen by Leanda de Lisle
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Lots has been written about Lady Jane Grey. This book delves deeper into the whole family's story, including the tragic tales of Jane's sisters Katherine and Mary. Unlike other versions of her story, Jane is no poor, fragile child thrust into a role she didn't want by grasping relatives. Leanda deLisle submits Jane's own words to reveal a young woman who was so committed to her Protestant faith, that she was willing to go to her death rather than repudiate her beliefs. After their sister's execution, both Katherine and Mary got themselves into trouble by marrying without their queens' permission. This lead to them both being separated from their dearly loved husbands for the most part of their marriages, and directly to Mary's husband's death from the after affects of being imprisoned and tortured. Katherine was able to bear two children, despite being in the Tower, in a different…

Walmart Beauty Box Unboxing - Summer 2017 - Meh

Here is is - the latest Walmart Beauty Box Unboxing:

So, this was a bit of a disappointment. As I said in the video, I'd really love more make-up products.  Having said that, I do like that the Walmart box is only $5 per quarter, it's a nice little surprise each quarter.

Book Review: Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell by Susanna Clarke

Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell by Susanna Clarke
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I can't say enough - I saw the mini-series, was delighted, and then read the book. Now I am enchanted. If you've read any of the reviews, you know the basic story - magic is almost gone from England, until the reclusive and odd Mr. Norrell decides to bring it back in spectacular fashion, publicly. He does, then comes forth the reluctant magician, Jonathan Strange, a fop, a dilettante, who just happens to be so much more naturally talented than Mr. Norrell. Add the incredible cast of magical and not characters, and you've got an immense allegory of the Prodigal Son that is very hard to put down. I found myself sitting at work, wishing I was reading my book.

Who hasn't watched bitterly from the sides as a newcomer seems to charm everyone and not miss a pitch? The introverted Mr. Norrell really just wants to be with his books, at his house -
“I have a scholar's love of silence and solitude. To …

Homemade Carpet Cleaner - Red Stains!!!

My son moved out of the house a few months ago, and after he got all his stuff out, we slowly have started claiming back our territory. His room had the only carpet in the house, and before it was his room, it was his sister's room, so it's had two teenagers living in it over the last 12 years, and the carpet was evidence of that!

I was able to get  most of the spots out with my beloved Tuff Stuff, but there was one spot - an ugly, old, some-kind-of-red-dye spot. Was it Kool-aid? Paint? Nail polish? Marker? Who knows. But it WAS right where you can see it, not cover-able with furniture. Nothing was budging that thing, including a soaking with hydrogen peroxide:

I figured I would just have to live with it, until I saw Jilleee's blog post about how to remove tough carpet stains (she's got an awesome blog!). I was intrigued, and as I did a little more research, I saw that this was a pretty well-known tactic to remove red stains.

I really didn't have much hope, but tho…

Game of Thrones Bookish Box Unboxing - June 2017

I always mean to put on some makeup and get my camera all set for my un-boxings, but I never do.  Sigh. This is me on a daily basis. So anyway - here is the video for the very cool Game of Thrones one-time box from Bookish Box by Appraising Pages:

Contents of Box:
Opening the newest GOT box from #bookishbox

Jon Snow quote T-Shirt
Direwolf Ring
Tyrion Lannister quote Sticker
Tyrion Lannister quote Pint Glass
Incredible, awesome Tyrion Lannister quote Tote

This box is sold out, but if you want to check out the newest boxes:

Book Review: Tails of Wonder and Imagination, Compiled by Ellen Datlow

Tails of Wonder and Imagination by Ellen Datlow
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Tails of Wonder and Imagination is an anthology of short stories by various writers. I picked it up because one of the stories is by Susanna Clarke, who wrote Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell. Also included are Stephen King, Neil Gaiman, George RR Martin, Joyce Carol Oates and many others, of course. I thought, due to the name, that the stories would be of the more fantastical nature, but some of them are just scary, or disturbing. The Gaiman story, called "The Price", was haunting, it has stuck with me. Some were interesting, and some were just gruesome. I love cats, and the stories in which cats were tortured and killed were upsetting. One of the stories, "Returns", simply broke my heart. Among the sadness and horror, there are some delightful, even funny stories, like the one about Schrödinger’s Cat. All in all, if you're a cat lover, you might not like to read this book because it will …